KCWC spring 2012: day 3:: elephant charlie dress

elephant dress and baby

i sewed this on day 3 of KCWC. it is now day 5, and this evening was the first chance i had to get a photo of her wearing it! oy. my day job is interfering with my photoshoots!


if you’ve been hanging around my blog for any length of time, you’re probably well aware of my almost-four-year-old’s love of elephants. it started when a good friend (YO E!!!) painted some sweet elephant art for her nursery and gifted her a stuffed elephant as a tiny baby. at a certain point, Em adopted elephants as her sort of mascot. in fact, i’m considering an elephant theme for her birthday party next week…nope, haven’t planned it yet.

elephant dress collage

anyway, so when we hit the bolt sale one recent weekend and Em spotted this elephant print (ellie fam by birch organics), there was really no choice but to buy it. together we picked the PERFECT kaffe fassett shot cotton to pair with it (steel – the crossweave is orange!) and she immediately started asking me when it’d be done…

shot and organic cotton

i originally planned to make the new oliver + s croquet dress with this combo, but it seemed a little too involved for my KCWC goals, and besides, Rae went and released her charlie dress add-on which i’ve been wanting to sew forever! i decided the fabrics were more suited to the charlie dress instead. like so many of Rae’s patterns, i had swooned over the many tester versions she posted about in recent months, waiting for the official release. that girl is a GOOD pattern maker, seriously. you never know when you download something from “a blogger” whether it’ll actually work out, and hers are high quality and clear. i trust her completely. i’d never made a yoke like this, and her instructions made it a snap.

ETA: i’ve been seeing a lot about sharing struggles this week, so i did want to mention one thing – the sleeve facings were hard to get a clean topstitching line on, since they’re a couple inches up the sleeve and i wanted to sew on the right side rather than “in the tube” like usual.  i got it, but on a 3T it was hard not to sew multiple layers by mistake.  i think next time i would attach the sleeve facings first and THEN sew the side and arm seams, and add topstitching to the edge of the sleeves to tack down the seam allowances.  anyway, not a mistake in the pattern, just maybe an easier way to do it in the future?


Rae’s clothing designs have unique and exaggerated shapes that i love, and Em still gets so much use out of her pierrot tops (one and two) that i could just keep making those and be set. but i get a total kick out of this dresshiki and think it’s great that the charlie can make a darn cute boy shirt, too.

elephant dress front

so yeah, it was fun for day 3 to try another new pattern, experiment with colors combos i’ve never sewn (orange isn’t my fave, sorry to say…but i do like making something other than pink!), and give my little gal something she had a hand in designing.


it has sparkly buttons, but she wouldn’t hold still enough for a photo of them. that’s a good sign.

19 thoughts on “KCWC spring 2012: day 3:: elephant charlie dress

  1. Jennifer says:

    loooooooooooooove the color combo! Love love love this dress. Emily loved Elephants when she was younger too. She called them “e-wa-nays”. And I TOTALLY know what you’re taking about regarding buying patterns from other bloggers. This is going to sound really mean (but I don’t mean it that way; I’ve just bought a few duds): it seams everyone thinks they can put out patterns. The problem is, they are not always experienced in this area and often leave crucial info out or it’s just a nightmare to sew. I LOVE buying patterns instead of making up my own instructions so I feel I have a right to be picky and judgy about the money I’m spending on these patterns that it seems they did not test with anyone!

    Anyway, love the elephant dress:)

    • kristin says:

      e-wa-nays is so cute! Em used to call them ‘eh-fants.’ it doesn’t sound mean, i know what you’re saying. i think having a good group of pattern testers (that will give you honest feedback) is key to writing a pattern that is seen as more “professional.” people have different levels of experience and may even add new ideas of how to improve the pattern, so it’s really important. that said, i just added an edit on a small struggle i had with the instructions – not that they were wrong, i just saw an easier way (one that doesn’t result in a cleaner finish, but sometimes lack of frustration is more important to me, hehe). 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    This is a gorgeous colour combination. I wish I could see the shot cotton up close and I love the elephant fabrics. Your little girl looks so sweet in it.

  3. sam says:

    What a fashionista! Elephants and orange (tangerine they seem to be calling it) are very in I think. At least that’s what they said on The Today Show….

  4. gail says:

    this is just grand!! love the fabric and the color combo – completely perfect for this pattern. and pink toms!! glad she got some pink in there somewhere 🙂

  5. kim says:

    Your comment about orange not being your fave made me laugh, because as soon as I saw the dress I thought, “ooh! Orange! That would be such a hit at our house!” Orange and “copper” are still E’s favorite two colors, and A is all about blue. In fact, she will only wear blue socks, which are sometimes hard to come by– maybe O could lend her some? 😉 anyways, it’s been such fun to see all of your posts this week! This dress is fantastic. I especially love the close-up shot, looking down on her embracing her elephant. Great picture!

  6. darci says:

    cute dress, great photos. My E also has a fondness for elephants (b/c they start with E)
    i, too, hate it when my day job interferes with my sewing. Sleep seems to interfere too

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